The Norwalk farmers market, founded more than 20 years ago, does a steady business and serves its mostly Asian and Latino customers well. It includes only certified produce growers and one fish vendor--unusual these days for farmers markets.
Last week, Lily Ying of Mira Loma had pristine shiitake and oyster mushrooms and some intriguing Asian greens: hollow Chinese celery, thinner and darker than the standard stalk, with a stronger flavor, grown from seeds her father had brought from China; it is used for soup, chow mein and stir-fries. She also had tong how, greens in the chrysanthemum family, "good for the stomach and for tension," she said; tiny, tender baby bok choy; and Chinese garlic, which looked like little leeks but packed a wallop.
Lu Thao, a Hmong farmer from Fresno, sold fresh pea greens, sugar snap peas and daikon greens with little seed pods that looked like Thai hot peppers and had a radish-hot taste.
Jose Berumen, who grows at the Westminster Memorial Cemetery (near but not between the graves, he said) had fresh red and Maui onions with their green tops, surprisingly fragrant Camarosa strawberries, young cauliflower and red beets--a distant echo of the sugar-beet farms that flourished in Norwalk at the turn of the century. The Valdivia stand of Carlsbad had tongs for handling its nopalitos, spiny cactus pads that are shaved and cut up as a vegetable, along with clean, crisp little carrots, zucchini blossoms and slender, pricey French beans.
Dennis Jones of Exeter, who arrived late because his truck's battery was on the fritz, did a brisk trade in Washington navels and giant Chandler pummelos. The Swope stand of Selma offered shelled walnut pieces, several kinds of raisins and waxed, supermarket-quality Fuji apples.
Norwalk farmers market, Alondra Boulevard west of Pioneer Boulevard, Tuesdays 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Hollywood farmers market will celebrate its 10th anniversary Sunday by honoring 22 growers who have participated since its first season. Ivar Avenue between Sunset and Hollywood boulevards; the ceremony is at 10 a.m.